Mirabai Chanu aims to clinch an Asian Games medal but faces the daunting challenge of achieving a 90kg snatch lift, a goal she has long pursued. In the weightlifting competition set to begin on Saturday, the Indian athlete will be under immense pressure to deliver.
However, the road to victory at the Asian Games won’t be an easy one, as it features competitors from weightlifting powerhouses like China, North Korea, and Thailand. Chanu has been a frontrunner in the 49kg category for some time, but she now finds herself outside the 90kg elite club, playing catch-up with her rivals.
While she remains in the top three for the clean and jerk section with a personal best of 119kg, Chanu’s below-par performance in the snatch has been affecting her overall score. Four lifters, including China’s two-time world champion Jiang Huihua, North Korea’s Ri Song Gum, and Thailand’s Thanyathon Sukcharoen and Surodchana Khambao, have surpassed the 90kg mark and will compete for the top spot.
Chanu’s best snatch effort stands at 88kg, whereas the world record is 96kg. India’s head coach, Vijay Sharma, expressed their goal of surpassing the 90kg mark in snatch at the Asian Games, a feat they’ve been striving to achieve for some time.
Mirabai Chanu, the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist, has prioritized the Asian Games this year, as it is the only major tournament where she hasn’t yet secured a medal. In the 2014 edition, she finished ninth and missed the 2018 Games due to a back injury.
Another Indian lifter, Bindyarani Devi, will also be competing for a podium finish in the women’s 55kg event. The 24-year-old won a silver at the Asian Championships in May, with the favorite for gold being Chen Guan-Ling from Chinese Taipei.
Re-reported from the article originally published in Deccan Herald